Listen out for the Carers Voice
Caring requires thought, organisation, emotion intelligence and resilience. If caring is not your profession and you have not received formal training it can be overwhelming.
I am speaking from a place of experience, over two years ago I made a decision to care for someone I truly love, this person needed me, they took care of me all my life. So when posed with the question of ‘Will you look after me’? my automatic response was ‘Yes’.
I will never regret my decision to become a Carer, it was an honour, privilege and it taught me so much about my own temperament, the power of love, patience and my lack of it at times: isolation, organisation, health, fitness, food and most of all how to communicate from a dark and light place of being.
Each person’s experience of caring is different, for me becoming a carer overnight, seemed fine, I managed to multi-task and run my own coaching business, organise and attend weekly hospital and doctors appointments, household duties, monitor medicinal side effects and benefits, cook, clean, remain upbeat, positive and energetic. Being that pillar of strength was rewarding, I discovered my capabilities, yet misinterpreted the signs my body was shouting out, ‘You need sleep’, ‘Get support and extra hands’ ‘Get some quiet time or someone to talk to’
I did confide to my incredible network of friends and family who were awesome, however I also needed to speak to a professional who could be objective.
Caring can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows, I could feel incredibly low and cry a lot. I would feel guilty for feeling tired or irritable, there were moments I needed a break, then I would feel awful about wanting time out. There were many people giving their advice, yet I didn’t feel my voice was being heard. People would say ‘It will make you stronger’ ‘God will bless you in Jesus’s name’ ‘It must be hard for you’ ‘I just don’t how you do it, you must be superwoman’
So one day I broke down, told the family doctor ‘I am tired and I am not coping’ and burst into tears. My doctor replied ‘I did wonder when this time would come’ part of me said ‘Phew!, I am not an awful person’ and yet another thought was ‘Why didn’t you help me sooner doc?’.
This is when I began to seek and receive the type of professional support I needed, I had carers come and support us for 45 minutes, per day, Monday to Friday, monthly 1-1 counselling sessions, organised a weekend away and also a 1 week break after being on the go for more than twelve months.
Although at times I unashamedly would mutter frustrations because I felt unsupported, it’s not a matter of complaining, it’s all part of the journey.
I have put together some top tips to help along the way:
- Seek support where possible, round up friends, family and outside support
- Join a support group
- Speak to a professional counsellor
- Meditate and Pray
- Eat healthy
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Watch comedies, laugh as much as possible
- Take a day off – you are not selfish if you do this
- Keep a journal, write down all of your emotions
- Speak up as soon as the going gets tough
- Appreciate each day and look for the positives
- Apply love and patience
- Accept the dark and overwhelming moments
- Exercise, release the tension
- Discuss feelings openly and don’t worry about how you sound
Even if you were able to do some of these, it would support you the carer and the person being cared for. Becoming a carer changed me from the inside out, along the journey, I met some incredibly inspiring people, made some new friends, grew in hope and compassion, gained knowledge about food and medicine and finally I was able to give back in kindness and service to the person I loved most in my life.
I hope this helps…